MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Congresswoman-elect Ilhan Omar’s support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has some in Minnesota’s Jewish community asking questions, as before the election she reportedly called the movement “counteractive” to the goal of a two-state solution.
Over the weekend, the website Muslim Girl posted an article, saying that Omar’s staff told the blog Sunday that the congresswoman-elect “believes in and supports” the pro-Palestinian movement, which seeks to put international pressure on Israel.
The staffer added that Omar, who won Minnesota’s 5th District congressional seat last week in a landslide, has “reservations about the effectiveness of the movement in accomplishing a lasting solution.”
A day later, TC Jewfolk, a website focusing on the Twin Cities Jewish community, took issue with Omar’s stance on the BDS movement, noting that it didn’t appear to gel with what she said to the Jewish community before being elected to Congress.
In August, ahead of the DFL primary contest, Omar said at a candidate forum that the BDS movement was “not helpful” to the ultimate goal of a two-state solution, TC Jewfolk reports. When asked specifically by the moderator about her position on BDS, Omar replied that it was “counteractive” to getting both sides to come to the table.
On Monday, TC Jewfolk reached out the congresswoman-elect to clarify her position. In a series of screengrabbed text messages posted to the TC Jewfolk website, Omar says that her position has always been the same: that she believes and supports the BDS movement. She defended her answers at the forum, saying that nothing she said was politically expedient.
Omar, 36, is currently in Washington D.C., for orientation. On Nov. 6, she became the first Somali-American lawmaker elected to Congress, as well as one of the first Muslim women elected to Washington.
In the past, Omar has come under criticism for her statements on Israel, specifically for a tweet in 2012 that said “Israel has hypnotized the world,” accusing the government of “evil doings.” She has denied that the tweet was anti-Semitic.
Before being elected to Congress, Omar was serving her first term as a state representative.